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Rock County is one of the smallest counties in Minnesota, but it boasts a rich and fascinating history. Here are 7 interesting facts about Rock County's past:

1. One of the earliest settlements in the county was a community of Dakota Indians, who called the area "Ocheda." The Dakota were largely displaced from the county in the 1850s and 1860s by European settlers.

2. Rock County was named for the Rock River, which flows through the area. The river was so named by French fur traders because of the rock formations along its banks.

3. Luverne, the county seat, got its start as a village in the 1870s, when a railroad line was built through the area. The town was named for Luverne Hawes, the daughter of a railroad official.

4. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Rock County was home to several lucrative quarries that produced Sioux quartzite. This unique pink stone was used in buildings throughout the U.S., including the Tribune Tower in Chicago.

5. During World War II, the Army Air Forces established a training base in Rock County. The base, which was located near Luverne, trained thousands of pilots for the war effort.

6. In the mid-20th century, Rock County became known as a center of turkey farming. At one point, the county had more than 1 million turkeys, earning it the nickname "Turkey Capital of the World."

7. Perhaps the most famous resident of Rock County was Eugene McCarthy, a U.S. Senator and presidential candidate who grew up in the town of Watkins. McCarthy was known for his anti-war stance and his efforts to reform the Democratic Party.

Despite its small size, Rock County has played an important role in Minnesota history. From its early Dakota settlements to its modern-day turkey farms, the county's past is full of fascinating stories and colorful characters.

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